‘Extremely dangerous' sex offender Paul Robson used a DUMMY to trick guards and escape from prison

‘Extremely dangerous' sex offender Paul Robson used a DUMMY to trick guards and escape from prison

March 19, 2022

AN “extremely dangerous” sex offender managed to give prison guards the slip and escape by putting a dummy in his bed.

Paul Robson had been serving two life sentences after he used a cat flap to break into a 23-year-old woman’s house in Oxford and held a knife to her throat while he sexually assaulted her in August 2000.

The 56-year-old had been moved to Category D HMP North Sea in Lincolnshire in January this year, following his fifth parole review.

But he managed to walk out of the open prison less than a month later and fled on a prison bicycle.

A national manhunt was launched and Robson was found four days later in Skegness, 20 miles away and was arrested.

Robson has now been locked up for another eight months and won’t be eligible to apply for parole for at least two years.

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The sex offender was reported missing on February 19 after a dummy was found on his bed, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

He had been in a single cell at HMP Whatton, in Nottinghamshire, before he was move, where he had “become a Buddhist”.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, mitigating, said when Robson had been oved to Lincolnshire he had been sharing a “cramped” cell with an inmate who annoyed him by “playing on his Xbox all day”.

Robson was advised to “do a jigsaw on his bed,” the barrister said, adding his client didn’t want to change jails but had no choice.

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On the night of the escape, Robson waited until his cell mate was asleep and then climbed out of the window, having left the dummy in his bed.

Mr Cranmer-Brown added that Robson had gone to Skegness because he had been brought up in a seaside town.

Robson had no family and had become institutionalised, but still had hope he would be released one day, the court heard.

In passing sentence, Judge Simon Hirst said the eight-month jail term for escaping would run alongside his life sentence.

Robson had denied the theft of a bicycle and the charge was left on file.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Paul Robson is now safely back behind bars and will face an uphill struggle proving he can ever be trusted to move to an open prison again.

“While absconds have halved since 2010 and are now extremely rare, the Deputy Prime Minister has introduced greater scrutiny of Parole Board recommendations on open prison moves.”

Robson has a history of sexually-motivated attacks, including assaults on women and girls as young as eight years old.


Police during the manhunt warned people not to approach him as he posed the risk of causing “significant harm”.

The Prison Guide, a convict support and advice network, has previously described Category D jails as “like the heaven of prisons”.

The Government said: “These prisons have minimal security and allow eligible prisoners to spend most of their day away from the prison on licence to carry out work, education or for other resettlement purposes.

“Open prisons only house prisoners that have been risk-assessed and deemed suitable for open conditions.”

An inspector’s report published in June 2021 said 70 per cent of prisoners were assessed as “presenting a high risk of harm to others” and more than half had been convicted of sex offences.

A spokesman for the Parole Board said: “The Parole Board refused the release of Paul Robson but recommended a move to an open conditions prison following an oral hearing in February 2021.

“This was a recommendation only and the Secretary of State for Justice considers the advice before making the final decision on whether a prisoner is suitable for open conditions.

“We will only make a recommendation for open conditions if a Parole Board panel is satisfied that the risk to the public has reduced sufficiently to be manageable in an open prison.

“A move to open conditions involves testing the prisoner’s readiness for any potential return into the community in future. Prisoners moved to open conditions can be returned to closed conditions if there is concern about their behaviour.”


Matt Warman, the Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, described Robson’ escape as “a failure of the system”.

“Any absconding from North Sea Camp is deeply worrying for local people, and it’s a sign of a failure within the system that should be making sure only those suitable for open prisons are placed there,” he said.

“This is a matter I've raised repeatedly with the MoJ and others, and while it’s welcome that numbers have fallen from previous levels, there is clearly more work to do.”

East Area Commander Chief Superintendent Kate Anderson told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “We received a call from a member of the public this morning alerting us to a potential sighting of Paul Robson in Skegness.

“Just before 9.30am a number of officers went out to search the area. They have seen someone matching his description who started to run away from officers, but they have given chase and were able to detain him and now he is back in custody.

“He was in Grand Parade out in the open. A member of the public had seen him and thought “I think that looks like him”, has phoned in immediately to say where and when he saw him and that has given us the information we needed to be able to get there.

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“We have put a lot of resources into this over the last few days and we are really pleased he has found.

“There was a foot chase, but thankfully the officers pursued him and were able to catch him. He did try to run away, but they did a brilliant job.”

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